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5 Tips for Helping an Aging Loved One Downsize

After careful consideration and important discussions, your family has decided that your aging loved one needs to have a higher level of care than independent living. It could be a move to a condo in a residential care community or they might need to be moved directly into assisted living.

Whatever the case might be, you will run into the challenge of trying to figure out what to do with extra belongings of your loved one that no longer has the room to house. It can make what is already a stressful situation even more challenging if you don’t get a sound plan put together before making the move. Here are 6 tips on ideas to make that process easier.

Tip #1: Make a List

Creating a list will help you formulate a plan and decipher between what is needed, valuables or heirlooms that should be kept, and unnecessary items that should be unloaded. If your aging loved one is cognizant at their current stage, they should be included in classifying this list. You should know that they might have emotional connections simply because of ownership though so the rest of the family needs to be onboard with formulating a reasonable list too. Furniture that is large and won’t fit in the new living space can likely be moved to a category of relocation or being sold. Heirlooms will be more difficult as they might have many items passed down through the family that they don’t want to see go away.

Tip #2: Don’t Feel Like You Have to Do It All Right Away

It is an important thought to keep especially if the move to downsize has come up out of nowhere due to injury or sudden cognitive detonation. You might feel an urge or requirement to go through all of their belongings and figure out a plan for all of it before they make the official move.

It might be more beneficial to rent a storage space for a couple of months to allow your family more time to review all the items that can’t be taken to the new living space. You can avoid losing any important paperwork or valuables that might have been lost by simply rushing the process. It can also allow your loved one a couple of months to realize that an item was a necessary keep (and not just an emotional want).

Tip #3: Appliances and Tools Should Likely Be Eliminated First

The fridge that your loved one has had since 1995 might be reliable but is likely unnecessary to keep when moving into a smaller space. The same goes for ovens and washing machines as many of these are already provided by whatever senior living space they are moving into.

Tools and large lawn equipment are also likely some of the first items you can mark as being unable to be kept moving into a smaller senior living space.

Tip #4: You Probably Won’t Sell Everything

It can be challenging as a caregiver to realize that not all items your aging loved one can’t take with them into their new space are valuable enough to sell. You will likely feel that you need to sell every single item for your aging loved one to increase their bank account but many items are likely not desirable for purchase. If your loved one has a favorite charity that they have regularly donated to, it might make more sense to donate those items for your own sanity.

Tip #5: Declutter Their “Runoff” Storage Spaces

If your parent has lived in their current home for an extended period of time, they have likely accumulated many things that are no longer needed. It might be storage in a basement or even just junk drawers that have had items thrown into over the years that are no longer needed. These spaces can often be quick ways to rid yourself of unneeded items that will not be needed at the new senior living space. Take all of these tips into consideration and formulate a good plan to help make the downsizing process less painful and stressful. Include all parties that should have a say in what goes and doesn’t to avoid conflicts with your family and loved ones.

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